Trenches represent some of the most hazardous areas in which workers in Missouri and other states can find themselves. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict regulations to protect the employees who need to work in these dangerous areas. Along with proper equipment, such as trench boxes or shored walls to prevent cave-ins, workers must have safe methods to exit excavations quickly in the event of an emergency such as an imminent trench collapse. Furthermore, a competent, adequately qualified person must evaluate the safety of the trench every day.
A recent news article reported the miraculous rescue of a trench worker in another state. Reportedly, the man was completely covered with soil after the wall of a trench collapsed. Rescue workers were quick, and they managed to clear the ground from his head within minutes before spending another 30 minutes to extricate him from the trench. He was airlifted to a medical facility, and subsequent reports indicated that he suffered no more than minor injuries.
This is quite unusual, as the pressure of enough soil to bury a person is so much that very few trench workers survive such ordeals. OSHA investigators are apparently busy with an investigation to determine this company’s compliance with federal safety regulations. The agency says excavations are regarded as some of the primary hazards to which construction workers are exposed.
Although this worker suffered no serious physical injuries, the emotional and psychological damage could be severe. Such near-death experiences often cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that may lead to absence from work and loss of income. Although any victim of such a workplace accident in Missouri may seek recovery of financial damages through the workers’ compensation insurance program, this type of claim could be challenging. However, the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is available to navigate it on behalf of a trench collapse victim.
Source: mitchellrepublic.com, “OSHA launches investigation into Emery trench collapse”, Caitlynn Peetz, May 25, 2017